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Natural History

September 2012

It's been a long wet summer and our snow has disappeared!

Posted by Julian Carter on 17 September 2012
The damaged snow before restoration.
Annette clearing away the old fabric.
Vicky attaching the new fabric layers.

It has to be said that the summer of 2012 was a particularly wet one and the visitor figures shot up as families sought a warm dry haven in our galleries at Cathays Park. The more visitors the better, but the increased footfall presents a challenge for the Natural History Conservation Team as we try to keep up with the wear and tear on the galleries. We know it’s very tempting for the younger visitors to touch the open dioramas and our sparkly snow seems to attract them most of all, but as the summer progressed and the small hands reached out, our scenery started to disappear before our eyes!

So on a quiet Monday in September when the gallery was closed we decided to clean and freshen up the display. We started by clearing away the damaged areas, then laying fresh fabric over the top. The fabric that we use to replicate the snow is thin upholstery wadding which gives a fluffy appearance when applied in layers. It’s easy to shape over the polystyrene base and around the rocks. When we’ve got the layers in the right position we use a spray adhesive to stick it down. The finishing touches are our favourite part of the job because we get to sprinkle handfuls of fake snow flakes and sparkly glitter over the top of the wadding. This gives the snow a freshly fallen look and the glitter sparkles as you walk around the display. For now the scene is looking fresh and crisp again, let’s see how long we can make it last!     

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